AUSTIN, Texas — The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) has announced Fred W. Heldenfels IV, president and CEO of Heldenfels Enterprises, Inc, as its 2022 board chair and Ali Khataw, president of Encotech, as its 2023 board chair elect. Their terms are set to begin on January 1, 2022.
“The Austin region’s moment has arrived to be an economic powerhouse and global destination for investment and job creation,” Heldenfels said. “As we navigate the implications of that, the Chamber must strengthen its role as the voice of businesses and look to the future. That means being intentional about planning for a super-regional economy, in cooperation with the business communities and economic development organizations in San Antonio, and the vital corridor communities connected to the two metro areas. There is ample opportunity to leverage our shared assets, including a higher education infrastructure that is a valuable source for talent, research and innovation, and to learn from other super regions like Dallas-Fort Worth to consider best practices and chart a path forward for the coming years and decades.”
Heldenfels has served on the Chamber board and executive committee for more than a decade and has been honored as a Distinguished Alumni of Texas A&M’s and an Outstanding Alumnus of the Mays Business School. He is the recipient of several Aggie 100 awards which honor the 100 fastest growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world. He has been called upon by former President George W. Bush during his time as governor, and former Governor Rick Perry to serve the State of Texas on the Coastal Coordination Council and as Chairman of the Texas Higher Education Board respectively.
As he prepares to lead the Chamber board in the coming year, Heldenfels lauded Nikki Graham’s leadership throughout 2021 as the region navigated external events and challenges that cities often must address as they experience growing pains.
“My year as chair elect has afforded me the great honor to work with our outgoing chair Nikki Graham, who has presided over an outstanding year for economic development accomplishments while also providing unwavering leadership on a multitude of — issues from the February winter storm to helping address homelessness to a robust and rational discussion on policing and public safety in Austin. Finally, I wouldn’t be able to serve our community through the Chamber if not for my family and particularly my wife Liz — to them I am eternally grateful for their love and support.”
2023 chair elect Ali Khataw founded Encotech Engineering Consultants in 1990 and has built it into a world-class operation that specializes in refining building system performance, providing impeccable client service, demonstrating proficiency in technicalities and implementing efficient design. He has served on the Chamber’s board since 2016 and is a member of multiple other boards of directors including Leadership Austin, KUT, E3 Alliance, and the Austin Area Research Organization.
“I am humbled by the trust the board has placed in me,” Khataw said. “It is an honor and a privilege to assume this position for such a respected, long-standing and highly influential organization. I want to thank Laura Huffman and our outgoing chair Nikki Graham for their steadfast leadership throughout 2021 — and what a year it was for new headquarters, expansions, relocations and job creation! Most of all, I want to thank my wife Nahid who, as the preeminent passion of my life, has given me the bandwidth to pursue another passion of mine — economic development and creating opportunity across the Austin region. I look forward to working with Fred Heldenfels, the entire Chamber board and staff in the coming year so I will be ready on day one when I assume the chair position in 2023.”
As a result of his leadership and vision, Khataw has been featured in multiple industry publications and was named the 2016 Engineer of the Year by the Travis County chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He currently helps mentor tomorrow’s workforce through his work as a Chamber talent ambassador. An alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, Khataw received the Community Leadership Circle Award in 2011, which honors the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Photo philanthropy — photography which a photographer sells and donates all profits to philanthropic causes — is a passion of Khataw’s and you can usually find him waiting for the perfect moment to capture the beauty of the world through his lens.
The Chamber board also welcomed the following new board members serving terms that will begin on January 1, 2022 and expire on December 31, 2024.
- Kristy Attaway, vice president and regional manager, Hill & Wilkinson
- Don Christian, president and CEO, Concordia University
- Andy Davis, president and CEO, Ascension Seton
- Joyce Durst, CEO and co-founder, Growth Acceleration Partners
- Tamara Fields, Austin managing director, Accenture
- Dillan Knudson, regional president, PNC Bank
- Samantha Lamantia Luchak, general manager, Favorite Brands
- Ric Mussiett, general manager, Archer Hotel
- Lynda Rife, president, RifeLine Consulting
- AJ Rodriguez, executive vice president, Texas 2036
- Tim Timmerman, president, Commerce Texas Properties
- Kevin Young, division vice president, Jacobs Engineering
About the Austin Chamber
The Austin Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit membership organization that helps people live, work and thrive in Austin. The Chamber invests in a broad range of programs that build, support and diversify the Austin region’s community. Its vision is for Austin to have the country’s most prosperous business community. To learn more, visit austinchamber.com.